Attention to Detail the Key at Keystone Homebrew Supply

Photo courtesy Keystone Homebrew Supply.

When I’m not drinking beer or writing about beer or dreaming about beer, I try brewing beer. But let’s be clear: extract only (One of these days I’ll find the extra time to brew all grain).

At last count I’ve brewed 18 five gallon batches over the past 4 years (I’m not counting the two I brewed sometime in 1995/1996), with only 3 that were pretty much undrinkable – and those 3 failures were the result of simple process mistakes. Not too bad of a ratio for an amateur – but it’s the small mistakes that kill your beer, and paying attention to detail is extremely important.  I have to note – every single one of those Brewing kits have come from Keystone Homebrew Supply in Montgomeryville (even the 2 in 1995 & 1996, when they were located in a tiny little shop on Route 309)!

I was reminded of the importance of attention to detail in brewing the other day when I stopped in to Keystone Homebrew Supply in Montgomeryville to pick up my next kit. Usually I run in, get my prepackaged kit, grab the hops and yeast out of the fridge myself (because I can’t help myself – I usually tinker with the recipes), pay and leave. But the other day was different – I needed help because my favorite kit (called “Emperor Pale Patine”) wasn’t on the shelf.

So one of the Keystone employees named Alan put the kit together for me using the Emperor Pale Patine recipe that they keep in a three ring binder for just this kind of situation. When he brought me up to the counter to check out, he took the time to double check that all the ingredients of the kit were in the box (including my extra hop additions). As Alan went through the box, he scrutinized the recipe, and the first reaction in my head was “Come on man, I gotta go.”

But at each step in the recipe he asked “Do you do this?” Or “How do you do this step?” As Alan asked me these seemingly innocuous questions, he pointed out a few things that I could do (or not do!) to make my beer better. And those few simple things made so much sense that it blew my mind.

I’ve always heard that about Keystone homebrew Supply – in fact, they announce in their email newsletters – “If you have questions, feel free to ask anyone.” But I am usually on the run and don’t ask. So I’m glad Alan took the time to ask ME the questions! I’m stoked to try this next kit and just wanted to thank Alan and the Keystone staff!

And PS – if you are a Forest & Main fan, Keystone sells a kit of their “My Analog Brain,” an English bitter. That’s definitely on my list to brew – maybe it will be my 20th batch!

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2017 – all rights reserved

Happy Belated 21st Birthday to River Horse!

 

Happy 21st Birthday! Photo courtesy of River Horse Brewing Company

It’s hard to believe that River Horse Brewing is 21 years old!  I remember the days (probably around 1999) of buying a variety case of River Horse and unfortunately each variety tasted like liquid pennies!   Things started to get better – I’ll never forget the  filtered Summer Ale and my first Belgian Freeze.  But in 2007 it definitely turned around – Processes were enhanced and the fun began!

River Horse has absolutely gotten better with age.   I’ve especially enjoyed their varieties I’ve tasted recently – like their tart but very drinkable Cranberry Sour.

So Cheers to River Horse!  Here’s to another 21 years!

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2017 – all rights reserved

Iron Hill’s Long Time Favorite Vienna Red Lager to be Released in Cans

Vienna Red Lager now in cans! Photo courtesy of Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant announced today that one of its flagship brews – “Vienna Red Lager” – will now be available in cans!  See the press release:

SEEING RED: IRON HILL TO RELEASE VIENNA RED LAGER IN CANS
The popular brewery’s latest beer release joins their growing line-up of canned beers,
and will be available in four-packs of 16-oz. cans to go while supplies last

Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant released Vienna Red Lager in cans on June 1, making one of their best-selling and most-awarded beers available in conveniently portable packaging for the first time. Recently, Iron Hill committed to making more of their beers available to fans in cans, and this latest release is their latest in a growing series of top-notch canned craft beers.
· Vienna Red Lager is a European-style amber lager, medium-bodied with delicate malt aroma, slight sweetness and a clean, crisp finish
The popular palate-pleaser will be available in limited quantities, while supplies last, in four-packs of 16-oz. cans for take-out only
Vienna Red Lager will also be available on draft at all 12 Iron Hill locations
The beer earned bronze medals at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in 1999 and 2011; a gold medal at GABF in 2008; and a silver medal at the World Beer Cup in 2008
The can also features a fun new design from Pittsburgh, PA’s Smith Brothers Agency, the third in a series of collaborations between the brewery and the firm, including Rising Sun IPA and Mahalo, Apollo!

Now you’ll be able to enjoy that Iron Hill favorite next to the pool!

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2017 – all rights reserved

Troegs “Nimble Giant” returns June 12

Troegs “Nimble Giant” returns! Photo courtesy Troegs Brewing Company.

We were excited to read in a press release from Troegs Brewing today that last year’s new release, “Nimble Giant” will be back on shelves on June 12!  Here’s what they had to say:

Nimble Giant Returns!
“Without sway, there can be no balance.” Beginning on Monday, June 12, Nimble Giant returns to beer shelves wherever you can buy Tröegs beer! You can also #findthegiant on draft at your favorite bar. Our Once-a-Year Double IPA gracefully boasts grapefruit rind, pineapple and honeysuckle notes with a hint of earthy forest floor. Behold the wonder! Visit troegs.com/nimble for more details including the release schedule.

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2017 – all rights reserved

Philly Beer Week is here – Opening Tap tonight at the Fillmore

After much anticipation, Philly Beer Week is back!

Opening Tap is tonight at the Fillmore, with the first keg being tapped at 7:20!   But until after the special VIP hour from 6 – 7!   Here’s what Philly Loves Beer (www.phillylovesbeer.org) is saying about the VIP Session:

Check out a sampling from our list of VIP Beers, available EXCLUSIVELY to OT VIP guests:
Southern Tier Sapsquatch
Troegs Scratch 284
Weyerbacher Finally Legal
Yards Brewbik’s Cube [a collaboration with the Philadelphia Science Festival]
Free Will Funky Hoppy People
Captain Lawrence American Funk
Heavy Seas PartnerShips [a collaboration with Union Craft Brewing]
Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS)
2SP, Forest & Main, Crime & Punishment, Second District Velcro Fweak
Coppertail Purple Drink
Ploughman Cider Pinot N’Arlet
Evolution Lot 215
Levante 3D Hippo
..and plenty more to put in your special glass..

Hope to see you there tonight, and round the city all week long!

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2017 – all rights reserved

Philly Beer Week is coming – and a new Lager from Sly Fox

Philly Beer Week starts this Thursday night with opening tap!   And Sly Fox has just announced that it has created a new lager that will be released for the occasion- the press release is below.

Hope to see you out and about during Philly Beer Week!

SLY FOX TO DEBUT NORTHERN LIBERTIES STANDARD LAGER
The beer is a collaboration between Brewmaster Brian O’Reilly, Standard Tap’s William Reed and fourth-generation brewer Bill Moeller, who worked at Philly’s historic Ortlieb’s and Schmidt’s breweries and developed the original recipe for modern classic Brooklyn Lager

On Thursday, June 1 at approximately 5:27 p.m. beer lovers following the Philly Beer Week Hammer of Glory (HOG) Relay are in for an extra-special treat: when the official keg hammer reaches Standard Tap, it will be used for a ceremonial first tapping of Northern Liberties Standard Lager. Brewed collaboratively by Sly Fox Brewing Company, Standard Tap owner William Reed and 91-year-old Bill Moeller, this extraordinary lager puts Moeller’s encyclopedic knowledge of beer as a fourth-generation brewer and brewing consultant on historic display on what is sure to be an instant classic in Philadelphia’s thriving beer scene. Standard Tap (901 North 2nd Street) will also host a debut brunch for Northern Liberties Standard Lager on Sunday, June 4 starting at 11 a.m. with O’Reilly, Reed and Moeller leading a meet-and-greet at 12 noon.

“Researching and brewing this beer with Bill has been an amazing opportunity, reminding me how much I still have to learn,” says O’Reilly. “Bill was brewing for 28 years in iconic Philadelphia breweries such as Ortlieb’s and Schmidt’s, at a time before home brewing was even legal in the United States. It’s a real honor to debut this collaborative brew with a true living legend – a man who helped put the Northern Liberties neighborhood on the beer map – during the 10th anniversary of Philly Beer Week.”

The inspiration for Northern Liberties Standard Lager struck when O’Reilly, Reed and Moeller were scrolling through Bills’ father’s malting and brewing notebook and discovered a lager recipe, dated February 6, 1920. At 5.8% ABV, the beer is very drinkable and fresh, brewed with German Two-Row, Caramel and Munich malts, and hopped with Cascade and Hallertau hops. They also used kräusening, a process that Bill requested, wherein about 10% young, still-fermenting beer is added to the aging beer, creating a secondary fermentation that adds flavor and carbonates the beer naturally.

“The long lager-ing period of near freezing temperatures is essential, as it smooths out the beer and rids it of rough-tasting tannins,” says Moeller. “I believe that kräusening produces beautiful complexity in a lager beer, and I was thrilled that Brian and Will were up for it. This is a beer with hair on its chest!”

Per Bill’s orders, a real lager must adhere to a “low and slow” fermentation process and age for at least six weeks. The final product is medium-firm bodied, with deep copper color, complex malty nose and balanced, brassy malt-hop finish. Northern Liberties Standard Lager is the latest installment in an ongoing series of collaboration beers started in 2008 between Sly Fox and Standard Tap and will be available at Standard Tap, Johnny Brenda’s (also owned by Reed) and at Sly Fox locations in Pottstown, PA and Phoenixville, PA.

“Reading Bill’s father’s meticulous hand-written notes made the family’s lengthy brewing tradition really come alive, and it’s very exciting to be able to pour the fruits of so much effort and history,” says Reed. “Fittingly, Northern Liberties Standard Lager will debut just a half-block from where lager brewing began in America.”

Moeller is a fourth-generation brewmaster and World War II veteran who has spent 67 years in the beer industry, tracing his brewing roots back to his paternal great grandfather, an accomplished brewer in his native Germany. Moeller started his own brewing career at Drewry’s in South Bend, Indiana and estimated that his family alone – his paternal great grandfather, grandfather, father, two uncles and Bill himself – have collectively produced about 110 million barrels of beer in America, including Bill himself concocting the original recipe for Brooklyn Lager, the same award-winning beer made today by Brooklyn Brewery. His beers have won critical acclaim both internationally and in the United States, including awards at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) and at the International Institute for Quality in Belgium.

“When I approached my father about getting into the family business, he told me, ‘You are going to do it the right way, the traditional German way – or you are not going to do it,’” says Moeller, who also formulated the original recipe for Dock Street’s Bohemian Pilsner. “Lagers and pilsners are difficult beers to make because it is very hard to cover up any mistakes.”

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2017 – all rights reserved

Yards Celebrates 10 Years of Real Ale Fest this Sunday!

Unfiltered goodness at Yards’ 10th Annual Real Ale Invitational! Photo courtesy Yards Brewing Company.

Yards Brewing Company will be hosting its 10th Annual Real Ale Invitational this Sunday, April 30 from 1-5pm.  According to the Yards website,

 This year, there will be over 60 cask-conditioned beers from breweries around the world, the biggest selection ever! Regular admission tickets are $55 in advance. If available, tickets will be $65 at the door but please note that Real Ale has sold out prior to the event for five years in a row.

Check out all the details and purchase tickets online here!

Hope to see you there!

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2017 – all rights reserved

2SP Brewing to host chili cook off on April 15

2SP Brewing will be hosting a chili cook off on April 15 – check out the details from the press release:

Philadelphia, PA – (April, 2017) – 2SP Brewing Company, Delaware County’s award-winning craft brewery, is excited to host the first annual Jillie’s Chili Social on Saturday, April 15 from 1-3-pm, featuring 20 chilis from local chefs.

With the purchase of a $10 ticket, guests will have the opportunity to taste a variety of different chilis from local, amateur chefs vying for the title of Best Chili in the Region.

Guests will also receive a complimentary pint of ASAP IPA infused with jalapenos – a one-time release brewed exclusively for the event by Head Cellarman, Andrew “Ruby” Rubenstein.

After tasting the chilis, attendees will vote for their favorite spicy stew. The winner will receive a $100 gift card to 2SP Brewing Company.

“I wanted to host an event that would bring the community together, and food has always been a great way to unite people,” said Jill Charles, 2SP Tasting Room Manager. “Also, chili is my favorite food. I can’t wait to try them all!”

All proceeds from the tickets will go to the winner of the chili cook-off’s charity of choice.

For more information about 2SP Brewing Company, visit their website at www.2spbrewing.com or follow them: Instagram @2spbrewing | Twitter @2spbrewing | Facebook/2spbrewing

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2017 – all rights reserved

Sly Fox to Celebrate Earth Day with Spreekend!

Spring has sprung! Time again for beer outside! Photo by Matt Brasch

Wow!  If this weather doesn’t get you stoked for Spring and Summer, I don’t know what will!  And if you want to celebrate the change of seasons and give back at the same time, Sly Fox is celebrating Earth Day on April 22!  Here’s the press release:

The brewery is committed to caring for its community, and to celebrate Earth Day,
they will release a beer benefiting the Schuylkill River Trail and host a fun launch party

On Saturday, April 22, Sly Fox Brewing Company will celebrate Earth Day with the annual debut of SRT Ale, an American Pale Ale benefiting the Schuylkill River Trail (SRT). SRT Ale is a golden, hop-forward sessionable ale that, at 4.6% ABV, is perfect to drink after traversing its namesake, the SRT. From 2 p.m. until 8 p.m., the outdoor enthusiasts at Sly Fox will take-over St. Michael’s Park in Mont Clare, PA for their third-annual SRT Spree, featuring live performances by roots rock bands Chestnut Grove and Frog Holler, along with fresh food from the Sunflower Food Truck and Uncle B’s BBQ. The festive party will pay tribute to the serene beauty of the SRT, while raising awareness for environmental issues and preserving Pennsylvania’s natural resources.

“As we like to say, Earth is the only planet that has beer – so we’ll do whatever we can to protect it,” says Brewmaster Brian O’Reilly. “SRT Ale and our annual Earth Day SRT clean-up efforts are our way to give back to the community that we love and preserve our beautiful outdoor spaces for future generations. We work with earthen ingredients every day when we brew our approachable ales and lagers, so we know first-hand how important it is to support local environmental organizations and government works projects.”

The SRT is a 130-mile walking and biking trail that runs from Philadelphia north and west to Pottsville, PA, and is a work in progress; to support its construction and maintenance, Sly Fox will donate $1 from every case of SRT Ale sold to the Schuylkill River Heritage Area (SRHA). In addition, they will share 50% of the Spree’s proceeds with the Schuylkill Canal Association (SCA). SRT Spree is the kick-off to a five-month initiative starting on April 22 and ending on September 30 at Sly Fox’s popular Can Jam Music Festival in Pottstown, PA where the annual donation is presented on stage.

Since 2014, almost $9,000 has been donated to the SRHA for trail maintenance, improvement and advocacy; last year, the brewery raised $4,711 through the sale of SRT Ale. Sly Fox owner John Giannopoulos was recently honored with the Schuylkill River Legacy Award for his charitable and philanthropic endeavors during the 2nd Annual Evening for the Schuylkill River.

“The Sly Fox partnership bolsters our efforts to encourage recreation, build and improve the SRT and engage new audiences in our events,” said Tim Fenchel, SRHA Interim Executive Director. “We are proud to recognize Sly Fox for their meaningful contribution.”

To celebrate the launch of SRT Ale, Sly Fox will coordinate a weekend-long “SRT Spree,” inviting fans to kayak, cycle, run, hike or walk the trail and help roving clean-up groups, as well as the 50K Schuylkill River Relay. Outdoor enthusiasts are invited to register for any of the events; however, participation is NOT required, and guests are encouraged to come drink great Sly Fox beers and enjoy the party at St. Michael’s Park.

Trail Clean-Ups
Participants receive a free t-shirt and participants 21+ receive a free voucher for a can of SRT Ale.
Fri 4/21 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Pottstown Riverfront and Manatawny Creek (register online)
Sat 4/22 9 a.m. until 12 noon Schuylkill Canal Park Lock 60 (register online)
Sat 4/22 10 a.m. until 12 noon Thun Section, Berks County (register online for exact location)

Schuylkill River 50K Relay
Participants race in stages, beginning at 9 a.m., following the trail from Lock 60 in Mont Clare, PA to Conshohocken Brewing Company in Conshohocken, PA and back again; at the finish line, each runner will receive one post-race SRT Ale and the official finishers baton. Runners can register online as individuals, teams of three, and teams of six.

Group Bike Ride in Mont Clare
Sly Fox has partnered with Bikesport on a roughly 15-mile group bike ride along the SRT on Saturday, 4/22. The ride will leave from Reynolds Dog Park/Longford Park at 9 a.m. before stopping at the Sly Fox Tastin’ Room in Pottstown for lunch, then ending back at St. Michael’s Park in Mont Clare. The ride is free to join and all riders will receive a voucher for a complimentary SRT Ale at the party.

Kayak Paddle at Lock 60
On April 22 from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. experienced and novice kayakers can embark on a 17-mile paddle along the Schuylkill River, starting in Pottstown and ending at St. Michael’s Park. Paddlers will be able to enter Lock 60 of the Schuylkill Canal, the only operating lock remaining on the Schuylkill River. To register, please click here – and remember to wear appropriate footwear and drink responsibly.

Celebrate in St. Michael’s Park
All are welcome to join the fun in St. Michael’s Park from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Saturday, 4/22. Chestnut Grove and Frog Holler will play live music, and Sunflower Food Truck and Uncle B’s BBQ will provide food. Participants will have the opportunity to taste the first release of this year’s SRT Ale. Registration is NOT required; guests are encouraged to consider carpooling or arrive via kayak, bike or foot along the SRT.

About Sly Fox Brewing Company…Since their inaugural brew in 1995, Sly Fox has crafted more than 100 different top-notch craft beers. Their critically acclaimed year-round line-up and highly anticipated seasonals are available in their brewpubs in Phoenixville and Pottstown, as well as top bars and restaurants in PA, CT, NJ, NY, MD, VA and Washington, DC. They were the first craft brewery in the mid-Atlantic to put in a canning line, adding it to their facility in 2006, and with it, earned the first-ever Great American Beer Festival (GABF) medal awarded to a canned craft beer, in 2007. They have earned GABF medals virtually every year since, and are widely recognized as among the region’s best and most enduring craft breweries.

Hope to see you at one of those events!

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2017 – all rights reserved